Getting Started with Family Worship

Parents are the primary disciple makers of their children. The Bible is clear that Christian parents are to disciple their children and point them to God, sharing with them and showing them how God is faithful to His promises.

We see the results of the lack of this over and over again, as well, in the Old Testament.

As a Christian parent and one who works with teenagers, I have seen over and over the statistics that say that parents who teach their kids the ways of Jesus and walk with Him themselves have kids who follow and love Jesus for a lifetime.







These reasons are why I have made a few videos over the last few weeks about “family worship.” You might call it “family devotions” or something else, but the reality is that parents should make time to teach their kids the ways of Jesus.

It’s also not that difficult to get started with Family Worship. That’s why I made this video and would love for you to check it out. In it, I talk about Five Tips for Getting Started with Family Worship.

Let me know what you think about the video.

Family Communication in Difficult Times

There’s a lot going on in the world today. When you turn to the news you see it (on every platform). Pandemics, racism, violence, etc. As a parent, I want to engage my kids in conversations, and as a youth pastor, my job is to engage and guide young people in conversations about these issues (from a Christian worldview).

Unfortunately, we don’t always know how to talk with our kids about these issues. Sometimes we assume they don’t see it or know what’s going on.

NEWS FLASH…they know. My kids often tell me what’s going on in the world today. They have more access to current events than I do because of the media they consume.

So, it is my responsibility to know how to lead them into a conversation that will help them discern biblically what is happening. That’s why I thought up a framework for talking with teenagers that I believe is increasingly important for parents.

Here it is:
– Information
– Emotions
– Discernment
– Response

I explain more in this YouTube video on Family Communication, but basically, I want to know what they know, how they feel about what they know, what they think about what they know, and how they are going to respond based on what they know (from the Scripture).

I’m sure I’ll write more on this in the future, but for now, I’d love it if you would check out the framework on the video below.

Teach Your Kids, But Let Others Teach Them, Too!

Lesson learned: when you are teaching someone, remember that you’re not the only voice they are listening to (and remember, that’s a good thing).

I posted this video earlier on LinkedIn, and it’s all about how I was bragging on my son during one of our weekly pastor’s meetings. One of the other pastors spoke up that the thing that my son had learned was probably learned during one of the sermons that he had preached and not necessarily something I had taught him.

I know he was kidding, but let me tell you a little secret: I don’t care!

It doesn’t matter who my son learned what he learned from.

What matters is that he is listening and learning.

I learned a long time ago that my kids will not only learn about God from me, but they will learn from others as well. And I am thankful for that. It is a blessing to have others who will speak truth into the lives of my kids.

If you’re a parent, look for others who can speak life into your kids. If you’re an adult, be on the lookout for kids you can mentor. You could make a big difference in someone’s life. 







Someone Noticed

To our small group leaders who came with our students on our Fall Retreat this weekend.

I noticed:

  1. Your setting aside of your own struggles and things you are dealing with at home so you could take time to care for and listen the students this weekend.
  2. Your sacrifice of your weekend to sleep on uncomfortable cots in rooms full of students so that they might love God and others more.
  3. Your willingness to drive your personal vehicles or negotiate the use of someone’s vehicle so that you could help transport students to the retreat.
  4. Your ability to make students laugh and have fun.
  5. Your sacrifice in the kitchen to cook and clean up.
  6. Your flexibility when things didn’t always go the way we had planned.
  7. Your participation in crazy yoga poses that most adults would never get to try just to build relationships with students.
  8. Your intentional looking out to make sure everyone was involved and having a good time.
  9. Your leadership and patience in small group with tired students (and when you were tired) so that necessary conversations could take place.
  10. Your encouragement to your students even before the retreat to get them to sign up.
  11. Your words of assurance to parents that their kids would be okay away from home for the weekend.
  12. Your actions and words to make new students feel welcome.
  13. Your example during worship.
  14. Your prayer for students to know God more.
  15. Your model in quiet time.
  16. Your flexibility when the schedule had to change.
  17. Your encouragement of the band and speaker as they ministered to students.
  18. Your support of each other and prayer for each other as small group leaders.
  19. Your time spent playing late night card games or other things in cabins.
  20. Your support and encouragement to me in your words, presence, and prayers.

There are many other things I could write, and I want you to know that I really appreciate you all and am so glad that you are on our team.


Leading Small

One of the priorities for our student ministry is to connect kids to caring adults who can share and show them that Jesus changes everything. Part of what we value is that our small groups can make a big impact. I’ve seen it time and time again. More happens in small groups than happens in a large group, even though we often place major emphasis on large group gathering times.

That being said, we are working on embracing the lead small strategy in our student ministry, which helps small group leaders make a bigger impact than they even think they can. Here are the Five Major Strategies of Leading Small.

1. Be present: Connect students’ faith to a community – everybody needs somebody who knows their name and knows what is happening in their life. I like to think of this as the “Cheers effect.” We want to go where everybody knows their name. We want students to feel accepted and part of a community. That’s why Consistency is important.

2. Create a safe place: Students need to know that tension is okay. That they ought to be wrestling with their faith. Even this past Sunday we talked about the fact that they must own their faith. It can’t be something they inherit. If we believe that to be true, they need to have a safe place where they can discuss their doubts and get clarity in their faith as they grow. 

3. Partner with parents: Strong faith is a daily faith. Parents have more of an impact on students than small group leaders do. That’s why we seek to partner with parents and encourage parents to partner with small group leaders. Family is important.

4. Make it personal: Good small group leaders can show their students a faith that is real. The people who have made the most impact in my life have done it by showing me how Jesus changes things. They’ve done it by modeling faith to me and inspiring me to “follow them as they follow Christ.”

5. Move them out: Small groups that only focus inward are not healthy. God wants us to be on mission. We need to engage their faith in a bigger story. We are working on moving them out so they can serve others and figure out how to Live to Give. 

Keeping these five strategies in mind will improve small groups. They will help us realize that we have a great role to play with those in our sphere of influence.


Not Everyone Learns the Same

Not everyone learns the same.

We recently returned from a camp in which we were trying to teach about serving God by serving others. I have preached or taught a lot in the past about how we need to be serving others. Now I wanted to give our students an opportunity to learn by doing.

We went to Nashville and served at the Nashville Rescue Mission. We sorted clothes and other things in their warehouse to help their various ministries that they have there.

We went to a ministry called Hope House in Bowling Green and helped in their thrift store as well as their back room. The guys got sweaty and dirty while moving a ton of garbage for them.

Then we spent an afternoon helping with a ministry called Curbside Ministries. We played with kids and talked with them about life.

Overall, our students each participated in over 6 hours of community service while we were on our trip.

Something interesting that happened was that one of the students told my wife Janell that he had been in church a lot during his lifetime. He had heard a lot of sermons about serving others. But that he never really realized what we meant by that until camp this year.

My takeaway from this is that sometimes it takes experiential learning. It takes doing something rather than just hearing. It takes seeing it in action. When we say to “love our neighbor,” often, we need to exhibit that and model that for students. We cannot simply rely on telling people that Jesus loves them or that they need to do certain things or make specific changes, we need to help them actually do those things in order for it to sink in deep to their very being.

My prayer is that our camp experience will help students have a heart for others and see what it means to really, truly, love God with all their heart, strength, and mind. And what it means to love their neighbor as themselves.